Plan for 80 new homes with adjoining workspaces to 'kick-start the regeneration of Sunniside'

A new creative community could soon take shape in Sunderland city centre, with more than 80 new homes earmarked for Sunniside.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 2:00 pm
Villiers Street looking onto Nile Street, Sunderland Picture: Google

Nile Street and Villiers Street in the city centre’s East End are set to be transformed into a vibrant residential community under plans presented to Sunderland City Council’s cabinet this week.

This includes turning the streets into high-quality homes with adjoining workspaces which will lend themselves to artists and creatives looking for studio-properties where they can live and work.

Earlier today (June 15), council chiefs granted an “exclusivity agreement” to organisations TownDev Ltd and Create Streets Ltd, referred to as ‘the partnership,’ to work up more detailed proposals and a funding strategy for the site.

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The scheme, which has been described as a ‘living arts hub,’ will also build upon earlier regeneration work in Sunniside with an aim of establishing the area as an ‘exemplar’ creative community.

As part of the plan, the city council will bid for a Levelling Up Fund grant, which it hopes will help underpin the regeneration project.

The designs will feature modern methods of construction and low carbon and renewable energy solutions and will be surrounded by green, community spaces which will complement the public realm in Sunniside.

And Back on the Map – a charity that was set up to enhance the quality of life of people living and visiting Hendon and the East End – is also working with TownDev Ltd and Create Streets Ltd to develop proposals that will best support artists and creatives.

The next steps of the plans were agreed at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, which was held at Sunderland Civic Centre.

A report prepared for cabinet said the partnership’s collective vision is the “creation of a new Nile-Villiers neighbourhood which aims to tilt the precarious socio-economic balance in a positive direction.”

This includes “creating a popular and distinctive community which will attract new residents to the heart of the city and kick-start the regeneration of Sunniside and Old Sunderland.”

The partnership’s conceptual masterplan comprises 87 new homes, workshop/studio space and shared private gardens.

Councillor Graeme Miller leader of Sunderland City Council, welcomed the scheme and said it would “greatly enhance” the area.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, he said: “Sunniside has seen significant investment in the past which has created a beautiful area, but one that does not have the critical mass of people and businesses to make it the vibrant community it is capable of becoming.

“Attracting investment, in the shape of new homes and workspaces that will support our creative community, will help not only stimulate the wider regeneration of Sunniside and Old Sunderland, but also complement work at Riverside Sunderland, where there will be 1,000 new homes, as well as the Civic Centre site which will also become home to a vibrant new community, increasing the number of people living and working in the city centre, which in turn will benefit local traders, with more footfall by day and night.”

He added: “We’re excited to see the teams at TownDev Ltd and Create Streets Ltd, working with our team at the council and partners like Back on the Map, move forward with proposals which will greatly enhance this changing part of the city.”

Under the exclusivity agreement, TownDev Ltd and Create Streets Ltd will have 12 months to firm up their plans and come up with concrete proposals to move forward with development in the area.

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